College Essay Topics and Writing Tips

In this blog post, we'll delve into the realm of college essay writing, exploring a myriad of topics and sharing valuable tips to help you craft an essay that not only meets the application requirements but also leaves a lasting impression. Whether you're a high school senior gearing up for application season or an underclassman preparing for the future, this guide aims to provide insights and strategies to make your college essay journey a rewarding one. 

Let's unravel the mysteries of selecting the right topic and uncover the secrets to writing an essay that stands out in the competitive landscape of college admissions.

Embrace Authenticity:

Above all else, prioritize selecting a topic or viewpoint that aligns with your genuine self. Detectable inauthenticity, whether through overly elaborate language or choosing an inconsequential topic, can be sensed by readers. Utilize your own voice, humor, and natural conversational style. Opt for a subject that genuinely matters to you rather than one chosen merely to impress. 

This may include discussing personal experiences, hobbies, quirks, or even vulnerabilities. Honesty about your traits, situations, or areas of improvement can resonate more strongly with readers than a superficial success story.

Captivate the Reader from the Start:

Given the competition for an admission officer's attention, commence your essay with a compelling opening sentence or paragraph. Whether it's a bold statement, a thought-provoking quote, a posed question, or a vivid scene, an impactful beginning can serve as a roadmap, engaging the reader and clearly presenting your essay's purpose.

Delve into Deeper Themes:

Rather than inundating your essay with facts and figures about achievements or activities, focus on revealing who you are as a person. Admissions officers are interested in your personal journey, the adversities you've faced, and the realizations you've had. 

Connect your experiences to personal growth, relationships, and leadership to provide a richer understanding of your character.

Show, Don't Tell:

Avoid a mundane recounting of activities and accomplishments by employing a more engaging approach. Instead of listing, create vivid scenes and provide anecdotes that illustrate your emotional journey. 

Make your essay dynamic and captivating by showing the reader your experiences rather than simply telling them.

Consider a Unique Perspective:

Differentiate your essay by approaching your subject from a fresh angle. If many students opt to write about successes, for instance, consider exploring the lessons learned from losses. 

Employ the element of surprise, leaving the response to a question until the final sentence. While popular themes like sports-related challenges or volunteer experiences are valid, strive for a unique perspective to stand out.

Write with the Reader in Mind:

Craft a clear and logical argument that flows seamlessly, using transitions between paragraphs. Anticipate the reader's needs for information and ensure your essay is well-organized, engaging from the start, and concludes with strength. Keep in mind that clarity, organization, and a strong opening and ending are crucial.

Multiple Drafts and Reflection:

Set your essay aside for a few days and return to it with a fresh perspective. Writing multiple drafts over an extended period allows for improvement and refinement. Consider starting the writing process early, giving yourself ample time for revisions.

Read Aloud:

Reading your essay aloud can reveal awkward or convoluted passages, helping you refine the writing and ensure a smoother flow.

Avoid Repetition:

Do not reiterate activities or anecdotes mentioned elsewhere in your application. The essay should provide new insights and align philosophically with the rest of your application.

Seek Feedback:

Request feedback from diverse individuals, such as teachers, parents, or siblings, to gain varied perspectives. Address any confusion expressed by readers and make revisions accordingly.

Pay Attention to Form:

While there may be no strict word limits, aim for a concise essay, keeping it readable and visually appealing. Check for proper formatting, readable fonts, appropriate spacing, and well-set dialogue.

End with a "Kicker":

Conclude your essay with a powerful closing line or paragraph that ties everything together, leaving a lasting impression on the reader. Be concise, engage in honest self-reflection, and include vivid details to illustrate your point. While a stellar essay may not guarantee selection, it can tip the balance in your favor when competing with candidates of similar academic backgrounds.

Write, Revise, Revise Again, and Best of Luck!


As a young woman from India, the intricate tapestry of my culture has shaped my perspective on life, igniting a passion for public health that burns brightly within me. Growing up amidst the vibrant colors, diverse traditions, and myriad challenges of India, I have witnessed firsthand the critical need for sustainable health solutions that can bridge the gaps between communities. This realization has fueled my desire to pursue a degree in public health, allowing me to contribute meaningfully to the well-being of my society.

One of the pivotal moments that ignited my interest in public health occurred during a community health camp in a rural village. The glaring disparities in healthcare access struck a chord within me. Witnessing families struggle with preventable diseases due to a lack of awareness and resources underscored the urgent need for public health interventions.

My academic journey, coupled with my experiences, has fortified my commitment to pursuing a career in public health. I am particularly drawn to the holistic approach that public health embodies, addressing not only the immediate health concerns but also the underlying socio-economic determinants. Studying public health is not merely a career choice for me; it is a calling to become an advocate for change in my community.

In India, where the fusion of tradition and modernity is ever-present, navigating public health challenges requires a nuanced understanding of cultural nuances. Through my experiences volunteering with various NGOs, I have learned to navigate cultural sensitivities and communicate effectively, laying the groundwork for implementing sustainable health initiatives. I am eager to delve deeper into this intersection of culture and health, exploring how traditional practices can be leveraged to promote public health awareness.

Additionally, my academic pursuits have equipped me with a solid foundation in biological sciences and a keen understanding of the complexities of healthcare systems. However, I am aware that theoretical knowledge is only a part of the equation. To complement my academic background, I am excited about the prospect of engaging in practical fieldwork and internships, gaining hands-on experience that will enhance my ability to address real-world public health challenges.

Harvard University's esteemed program in public health stands out to me as an ideal platform to nurture my aspirations. The rich academic environment, diverse student body, and the emphasis on community engagement align seamlessly with my vision for holistic public health advocacy.

In conclusion, my journey from the vibrant streets of India to the hallowed halls of Harvard's public health program is fueled by a fervent commitment to make a difference. I am ready to contribute my unique perspective, cultural insights, and unwavering passion to the field of public health, becoming a catalyst for positive change in the world.

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